The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who spoke today, Sunday, during a tour of the farmlands in Kebbi state, said that the farmers would be producing about one million metric tonnes of rice for the country this year.
Emefiele said that through the intervention, a total of 78,581 farmers were mobilized in Kebbi State under the initiative, with a total of 570,000 direct jobs created in the process.
The CBN Governor said that the success recorded by the rice farmers in Kebbi state has rekindled hope in the ability of Nigeria to be self sufficient in rice and wheat production, adding that with the sum of N210,000 granted to each farmer, they are able to cultivate a hectre of rice.
He disclosed that under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, farmers are already looking forward to a total of one million metric tons rice this year.
The CBN Governor said that with the disbursement of N4.9 billion as loans to the farmers, over N570,000 direct jobs have been created and saved.”
Apart from the number of jobs created, Emefiele said that 70,871 rural farmers now own and operate bank accounts and are also captured under the Bank Verification Number biometric project.
The anchor borrower program is designed to create economic linkages between farmers and processors, not only to ensure increased agricultural output of rice and wheat, but also close the gap between production and consumption.
Under the programme, the CBN has set aside N40bn out of the N220bn Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund to be given to farmers at single digit interest rate of nine per cent per annum.
Under the scheme, smallholder farmers are entitled to loans ranging from N150,000 to N250,000 to assist them in procuring necessary agricultural inputs like seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, among others, to help boost agricultural outputs and productivity.
This was even as the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh said that with Kebbi State alone targeting one million tons of rice out of the projected seven million tons required by the entire country, the country is on its way to self sufficiency in rice production.
He commended the efforts of the CBN for its intervention in the agricultural sector adding that deliberate efforts are being put in place at opening up other rural areas for agricultural purposes. [myad]